Meditation by the numbers

You may feel that you want to meditate but just can't get around to it. Perhaps you feel you always have something to do. Perhaps you want to find a quiet room, or get yourself a nice meditation cushion, or maybe you want to have a tea first and then you get distracted. Or perhaps you feel you should read a book on it or take a course.

Or you can just go ahead and do it. Meditation doesn't require special equipment. A quiet room is nice, but not essential. Even sitting down is not essential – there are ways of meditating while walking. And, while courses and books can be helpful, you can get started anywhere, anytime – like now, for instance. The real reason for not meditating is usually that you feel you should always be doing something useful. Well, meditation is something useful – and it's good for you. So get to it! Here is an easy way to get started:

  1. Sit comfortably with your back straight – in a "dignified" posture – in a chair or on the floor.
  2. Close your eyes and breathe calmly.
  3. Count your breaths: inhale, one, exhale, one; inhale, two, exhale, two; inhale, three, exhale, three; and so on. If your mind wanders, simply return it to your breathing as soon as you notice that it has wandered; don't get frustrated or chastise yourself for being distracted, as that will only distract you further. If you lose count, start again from one. You may wish to count in cycles of 10, restarting at 1 after reaching 10, and do this for 5 or 10 cycles (keeping track on your fingers of how many cycles you've gone through). Or you may wish to count to 100.
  4. Continue this type of breathing for 10 to 20 minutes.
  5. When you are done, continue sitting quietly for a few more minutes with your eyes closed.

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